1943: Lojze Grozde, beatified Slovenian 1786: Elizabeth Wilson, her reprieve too late

1981: Cipriano, Eugenio, and Ventura García-Marín Thompson

January 2nd, 2011 Headsman

In the early morning hours this date in 1981, three young Jehovah’s Witnesses were hailed out of their cells at Havana’s La Cabaña Fortress, and apparently executed.

Cipriano, Eugenio and Ventura Garcia-Marin Thompson were three of eight Cuban Witnesses who attempted to claim asylum at the Vatican embassy in early December. After a few hours’ standoff, elite government anti-terrorism troops simply broke in and seized them.

(Rome still catches flak (Spanish link) for its failure to maintain a bigger diplomatic ruckus about this violation of its diplomatic prerogatives; the raid may in fact have been green-lighted by a Vatican embassy official.)

You’ll find this tale most commonly expounded on anti-Castro sites, such as this pdf from the Cuba Archive:

The three brothers were taken to Villa Marista headquarters and told by prosecutor Carlos Amat that they had been “tried and sentenced to death.” They were taken from their prison cells in early morning hours of January 2, 1981, and presumably executed, the others were sentenced to long prison terms.

An Interior Ministry official who defected in 1992 reported that their fate had been decided in “an extremely summary process.” The family was denied the remains of the three brothers for burial. The mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison for protesting the executions and served ten years after her mental health deteriorated.

Sources: Testimony of Margarita Marin Thompson (mother) in Ricardo Bofill, Diario Las Américas, September 9, 1997. Pablo Alfonso. El Nuevo Herald, 31 October 1997, p. 6A. Valladares, 1985, p. 416. Amnesty International Annual Report 1983, p. 130. Nuestra Cuba, 1998, p. 3. Reader’s Digest, October 1998, p. 83. Montaner, 1984, p. 267. Cuban American National Foundation, The Quilt of Fidel Castro’s Genocide, 1994. Reinaldo Bragado, 1998, p. 5. Instituto de la Memoria Histórica Cubana contra el Totalitarismo, 2002, p. 35. Fuentes 2002, p.s 102-104. Juan O. Tamayo, “Ex-Cuban prosecutor’s role in rights panel criticized,” The Miami Herald, April 16, 1998. Circuito Sur, July 2002, p. 35, and http://members.aol.com/aguadacuba/cs/datafusi/vaticano.htm.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Activists,Capital Punishment,Cuba,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,God,History,Martyrs,Religious Figures,Shot

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